2010 Suzuki Equator Review

Consumer Reviews
0 Reviews
2018
The Car Connection
See the nominees and vote »
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
January 14, 2010

With some innovative cargo solutions and tough off-road ability, the 2010 Suzuki Equator is a good match for weekend active types and busy hobbyists.

To produce the most useful review information on the 2010 Suzuki Equator, the experts at TheCarConnection.com have looked to some of the top review sources around the Web and handpicked highlights. The editors of TheCarConnection.com have also driven the Equator and present firsthand driving information and advice in this Bottom Line.

As Suzuki's first modern pickup for the United States, the Equator is largely a Nissan Frontier, rebadged with some slightly different trim and details. Available in Extended Cab and Crew Cab models, the 2010 Equator puts a slightly more recreational and off-road focus on a mid-size pickup design.

The Equator arguably looks better than the Frontier, with its more aggressively styled snout and some great options in terms of paint colors and wheels to complete the purpose-built appearance. Inside, there isn't much of a difference between the Suzuki and its Nissan cousin; the Equator carries a simple and inoffensive but tough look, though trims won't catch any fickle eyes.

The Equator's base engine is Nissan's 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder with 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque, available with a five-speed manual or a five-speed, electronically controlled automatic, but the engine feels hard-pressed in the Equator and won't be much better for fuel efficiency in everyday driving. Optional (and standard on Crew Cab models) is Nissan's excellent 4.0-liter DOHC V-6, offered only with the five-speed automatic and featuring 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. Two-wheel drive is standard on all Equators, with shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive optional. With the V-6, the Equator is rated at 15 mpg city, 19 highway with 4WD and 15/20 mpg with 2WD. As with most pickups, the Equator can feel quite different depending on how you appoint it. Base Extended Cab models seem quite sprightly and handle well, but Extended Cab models—particularly with 4WD—come across as ponderous.

Review continues below

The 2010 Suzuki Equator has a true body-on-frame design, which allows an impressive degree of toughness for off-roading and towing, but it has its costs. As such, the cabin is narrow, the ride rather busy, and the interior not so free of road noise. These same detriments become benefits when it's time for off-roading and towing, where a tough live axle, leaf springs, and a ladder frame shoulder extra weight with ease. Optional Hill-Descent Control (HDC) and Hill Start Assist (HSA) make crawling even the steepest trails a cinch. In 2WD, V-6 guise, the Equator happily tows 6,500 pounds.

The bed-storage system in the 2010 Equator is its piece de resistance, and better than what's found on the Frontier. The slanted bed-extender tailgate quite perfectly cradles the rear wheel of a dirt bike in the short-bed, crew-cab version. With five heavy-duty C-channel aluminum rails where adjustable tracks reside, allowing flexible tie-down of various items, plus a standard spray-on bedliner from the factory, removable utility cleats that slide into side channels, and plenty of additional options for this rack system, the Equator is the ridiculously equipped and well-thought-out. Looking inside, the Equator's cabin is truly nothing special. In Extended Cab form, the Equator comes with vestigial rear jump seats suitable only for children or storage. The Crew Cab offers much better rear seat accommodations, providing reasonable comfort and good utility, and in either version the front seats are just OK in terms of comfort. Interior materials and trims are also unremarkable, a bit plasticky but about par for this class.

The safety picture for the 2010 Equator isn't great, with a mix of crash-test ratings and some models lacking crucial safety features. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal offset crash testing, the Suzuki Equator earns a top "good" rating. IIHS has not yet tested an Equator for side impact protection, but it gave the Equator its worst rating, "poor," for rear crash protection. The Suzuki Equator earns decent ratings from NHTSA, receiving a mix of four- and five-star ratings for frontal protection in the Extended Cab model but four-star ratings for Crew Cab models. Rollover ratings aren't quite as impressive, with only three stars for both 2WD models. Side airbags and supplemental curtain bags are standard, as now required by the feds, but the lack of electronic stability control on the four-cylinder model is a sore point.

The Equator is offered in several different trims, including base, Comfort, Premium, Sport, RMZ-4, and RMZ-4 Sport. The RMZ-4 Sport is the standout of the line, including the bed extender, a moonroof, a Rockford-Fosgate sound system, Bluetooth, plus Hill Descent Control and Hill Hold Control. Suzuki also has one of the best warranties, good for 100,000 miles or seven years and fully transferable, for powertrain.

8

2010 Suzuki Equator

Styling

You won't have to squint very hard to tell the 2010 Suzuki Equator from its Nissan cousin, but that's not a bad thing and the Suzuki is perhaps the better-looking of the two. 

The Equator arguably looks better than the Frontier, with it more aggressively styled snout and some great options in terms of paint colors and wheels to complete the purpose-built appearance. TheCarConnection.com tends to favor the 2010 Equator's styling over that of the Frontier, and some other reviewers agree. Automobile Magazine, for example, thinks that the Suzuki Equator "looks better than the Frontier," thanks to a front end that Cars.com describes as "distinctly Suzuki, with a trapezoidal grille and a high-tech light cluster." Autoblog reviewers also "prefer the looks of the Suzuki [Equator], which definitely has that square-jawed truck look that seems to be popular these days."

Inside, there isn't much of a difference between the 2010 Suzuki Equator and its Nissan cousin; the Equator carries a simple and inoffensive but tough look, though trims won't catch any fickle eyes. ConsumerGuide reviewers mention the "simple, handy layout" as one of its strengths, while also noting that "all controls are within easy reach." Autoblog notes that the "easy-to-read gauge cluster sits behind a familiar Nissan-sped steering wheel and switchgear," and Cars.com reports that "the center storage box, while small, is well-organized and at just the right height for our elbow to rest on it."

7

2010 Suzuki Equator

Performance

The 2010 Suzuki Equator performs satisfactorily on the road—and very well for the times when you need true truck capability. 

The Equator's base engine is Nissan's 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder with 152 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque, available with a five-speed manual or a five-speed, electronically controlled automatic, but the engine feels hard-pressed in the Equator and won't be much better for fuel efficiency in everyday driving. Optional (and standard on Crew Cab models) is Nissan's excellent 4.0-liter DOHC V-6, offered only with the five-speed automatic and featuring 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. With the V-6, ConsumerGuide says that the Equator is "strong from a stop and around town," while Cars.com claims that the engine "provides good, if not great, acceleration and passing power."

Two-wheel drive is standard on all Equators, with shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive optional. With the V-6, the Equator is rated at 15 mpg city, 19 highway with 4WD and 15/20 mpg with 2WD. Autoblog is impressed that "maximum trailer towing capacity is 6,500 pounds for the V6 2WD model," which compares nicely with the Suzuki Equator's competitors. Few reviews of the four-cylinder are available, but based on reports, it is rather underpowered for the Suzuki Equator's stated goal of conquering off-road terrain with ease.

The automatic transmission on the Suzuki Equator rates well with reviewers, as ConsumerGuide praises the fact that it "kicks down quickly for good midrange passing punch." Cars.com adds that "the transmission kicks down and the engine gets louder" when you punch the throttle, "but it still takes a moment for rpm to build enough to deliver real passing power."

The 2010 Suzuki Equator has a true body-on-frame design, which allows an impressive degree of toughness for off-roading and towing, but it has its costs. As such, the cabin is narrow, the ride rather busy, and the interior not so free of road noise. These same detriments become benefits when it's time for off-roading and towing, where a tough live axle, leaf springs, and a ladder frame shoulder extra weight with ease. Optional Hill-Descent Control (HDC) and Hill Start Assist (HSA) make crawling even the steepest trails a cinch. In 2WD, V-6 guise, the Equator happily tows 6,500 pounds.

As with most pickups, the Equator can feel quite different depending on how you appoint it. Base Extended Cab models feel quite sprightly and handle well, but Extended Cab models—particularly with 4WD—feel ponderous. ConsumerGuide reports that the steering is "nicely balanced for a pickup truck," noting that it "feels weighty and direct, but is slow to react in tight turns and parking spots." Cars.com is also impressed with the overall handling of the Suzuki Equator, finding in their test that "steering is based on an engine-speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion setup that lent itself to carving corners." But Motor Trend comments that “there's nothing that can be done about its 43.6-foot turning circle" on their 4WD test vehicle, which makes it not much more maneuverable than full-size trucks.

The brakes win favor with Cars.com reviewers, who say that "they're easy to modulate at the top of the pedal, with a consistent gain in stopping power as you apply them."

8

2010 Suzuki Equator

Comfort & Quality

Those seeking a plush interior should look elsewhere, but the 2010 Suzuki Equator offers impressive cargo utility.

Inside, the Equator's cabin is truly nothing special. In Extended Cab form, the Equator comes with vestigial rear jump seats suitable only for children or storage. The Crew Cab offers much better rear seat accommodations, providing reasonable comfort and good utility, and in either version the front seats are just OK in terms of comfort. ConsumerGuide reports that "Extended Cabs have flip-up rear seats," while the "Crew Cabs have a rear bench seat" that is fixed in place. Reviewers don't find much to fault with the front seats, as Motor Trend says that "the cabin has plenty of room" and ConsumerGuide praises the Suzuki Equator's "good six-footer headroom and legroom." ConsumerGuide adds that "the seats are comfortable, but need more side bolstering to hold front passengers in place through turns."

Cars.com reviewers don't mind the cloth-covered seats, and they note that "leather seats will not be available through Suzuki." Although the Crew Cabs offer decent rear seat room, ConsumerGuide declares that the "Extended Cab's rear seats are best used for small cargo," as "only preteens will fit comfortably."

The bed-storage system in the 2010 Equator is its piece de resistance and better than what's found on the Frontier. The slanted bed-extender tailgate quite perfectly cradles the rear wheel of a dirt bike in the short-bed, crew-cab version. With five heavy-duty C-channel aluminum rails where adjustable tracks reside, allowing flexible tie-down of various items, plus a standard spray-on bedliner from the factory, removable utility cleats that slide into side channels, and plenty of additional options for this rack system, the Equator is the ridiculously equipped and well-thought-out. In the bed, Motor Trend adds that the Suzuki Equator "benefits from Nissan's Utili-track bedrail system and spray-on bedliner."

Elsewhere inside, there's plenty of space for smaller items. Cars.com reviewers love that the cabin features "numerous storage pockets and slots, including two storage compartments in the glove box location." ConsumerGuide also reports that "there's useful space behind the front seats and some thoughtful small-items storage up front" on the Suzuki Equator.

Interior materials and trims are unremarkable, a bit plasticky but about par for this class. While Car and Driver contends that the "Frontier's hard plastic parts and Nissan-orange dashboard lighting are no more attractive in Suzuki guise," Cars.com reviewers claim that "the interior doesn't seem cheap, just easy to clean." ConsumerGuide says that "cabin materials are predictably workman-like," although on the downside, the "controls do not operate with smooth precision."

Most reviewers find that the 2010 Suzuki Equator offers a relatively well-insulated cabin. Autoblog says that the big grille "didn't add any undue wind noise" and deems the Suzuki Equator "livable, but you may find yourself turning up the stereo a few notches on the highway." ConsumerGuide notes that "the V6 growls at full throttle, but isn't unduly loud," while "wind rush is evident over 60 mph and rises sharply with speed."

Ride quality isn't so great, although TheCarConnection.com notes that it's better for 2WD models. Motor Trend reports that the Suzuki Equator's "rough ride could be helped by filling the bed with cargo.”

7

2010 Suzuki Equator

Safety

Especially safety-minded pickup shoppers should probably look elsewhere than the 2010 Suzuki Equator, though it covers the basics and offers some off-road extras.

The safety picture for the 2010 Equator isn't great, with a mix of crash-test ratings and some models lacking crucial safety features.

In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal offset crash testing, the Suzuki Equator earns a top "good" rating. The IIHS has not yet tested an Equator for side impact protection, but it gives the Equator its worst rating, "poor," for rear crash protection. The Suzuki Equator earns decent ratings from NHTSA, receiving a mix of four- and five-star ratings for frontal protection in the Extended Cab model but four-star ratings for Crew Cab models. Rollover ratings aren't quite as impressive, with only three stars for both 2WD models.

Side airbags and supplemental curtain bags are standard, as now required by the feds, but the lack of electronic stability control on the four-cylinder model is a sore point. Autoblog notes that "limited-slip traction control, Vehicle Dynamic Control, Hill Descent Control and Hill Hold Control" are all available as options.

The editors of TheCarConnection.com point out that electronic stability control, a safety feature that's even more of a must-have on pickups, is not at all available with the four-cylinder engine. Another feature included with only the upgraded trim levels is "hill ascent/descent control" on the RMZ-4, according to ConsumerGuide.

One area where the Suzuki Equator outshines some other pickups is driver visibility. ConsumerGuide reports that although the "wide-base windshield pillars can hinder visibility to the front corners, the view is fine to the rear corners and directly aft." Without any kind of optional rearview camera or parking assist, that's fortunate.

9

2010 Suzuki Equator

Features

The 2010 Suzuki Equator doesn't include many luxuries or tech features, but it has a number of options geared for active truck users.

The Equator is offered in several different trims, including base, Comfort, Premium, Sport, RMZ-4, and RMZ-4 Sport.

The RMZ-4 Sport is the standout of the line, including the bed extender, a moonroof, a Rockford-Fosgate sound system, Bluetooth, Hill Descent Control, and Hill Hold Control.

Base-model 2010 Equator models don't come with much. ConsumerGuide finds that they have "cloth upholstery, front bucket seats, [and a] fold-flat passenger seat," though you'll have to spring for the Comfort trim if you want standard "air conditioning [and] AM/FM/CD player."

The 2010 Suzuki Equator also has one bonus: It can accept all the aftermarket accessories already designed for the Equator. Among those optional features, Cars.com reports that 2009 Suzuki Equator owners can choose from "a full range of accessories and options best suited to bike, ATV and/or motorboat owners." Car and Driver reviewers also praise "the availability of a long list of custom accessories right at launch."

The Equator continues to offer a more portable navigation system that fits its target owners' lifestyles. Cars.com cites "a unique touch-screen GPS navigation system, called Suzuki TRIP, that can be removed from the vehicle and taken on a boat or to a campsite."

Suzuki also has one of the best warranties, good for 100,000 miles or seven years and fully transferable, for the powertrain. Autoblog points out that it "is superior to the Nissan's five-year/60,000-mile coverage."

Continue Reading

The Car Connection Consumer Review

Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
USED PRICE RANGE
$10,980 - $17,990
Browse Used Listings
in your area
7.8
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8.0
Performance 7.0
Comfort & Quality 8.0
Safety 7.0
Features 9.0
Fuel Economy N/A
Compare the 2010 Suzuki Equator against the competition
Compare All Cars
Looking for a different year of the Suzuki Equator?
Read reviews & get prices
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
See More Used